Planet Rugby

Saracens must heed lessons of 2013

22nd May 2014 18:03

Share:

Matt Giteau v Brad Barritt toulon saracens

Dangerman: Matt Giteau

Saracens boss Mark McCall says his team must heed the harsh lessons of last season's Heineken Cup semi-final defeat to Toulon ahead of Saturday's final in Cardiff.

McCall is adamant that Saracens cannot afford to gift Toulon points as they did a year ago if they hope to stay on course for an historic Premiership-European double.

"Jonny (Wilkinson) kicked 24 points last year, one was a drop-goal and the rest were penalties," said the Saracens rugby director.

"Six of those penalties we gave away when we were in possession of the ball.

"We weren't under the pump, we weren't hanging on for dear life: We had possession of the ball in our half.

"And there's a lesson for us in that, it's very important when you play Jonny Wilkinson and Toulon how you approach the game, and where you play.

"They are an outstanding defensive team, they are very good over the ball.

"Alain Rolland gives penalties quickly against the ball carrier, so you've got to be accurate when you go into contact.

"And we've got to play more of the game in their half than in our own.

"This time last year we were finished, the season was over and there was this incredible regret and disappointment.

"I think we're just chuffed that we're preparing for a huge match.

"But it's important we keep things as they always are, our very best performances are always preceded by our best preparation weeks."

While soon-to-retire Wilkinson has attracted most of the headlines, McCall believes the influence of former Wallaby centre Matt Giteau cannot be overlooked.

"[Giteau] is a very special player, because he's got not only a fantastic passing game, he kicks the ball well, he's stronger and quicker than most people think," said McCall of Giteau.

"And he's at his most dangerous when he's at the line with a winger on his inside, and you can't take your eye off him for a second, he's a superb player.

"I think Toulon are a brilliant rugby team.

"There's this common view out there of how to beat them, just to move their big men around and play with tempo, and everyone who has done that has come up short.

"So you've got to have other plans and find ways of stressing them, taking away their energy and moving their big men around in a different kind of way.

"So hopefully we'll be able to execute some things to do just that.

"I'm unbelievably impressed with what Toulon have put together, they've gathered together incredibly competitive people, all high achieving world stars.

"You put 23 of those together and you're going to get a pretty competitive team.

"I think there are examples of teams who have spent a lot of money, or brought in stars, and then not delivered.

"But Toulon seem to have chosen very well, with the squad they have got they have a great togetherness, spirit and camaraderie, and on top of that they are all good players."

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411